On It: Nic Von Rupp's Heart Beats to the Rhythm of Colossal Swells

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 311d ago

Nic Von Rupp's chest beats to the rhythm of swell. But not those boilerplate, every day pulses that tumble into your local, oh no. It is the promise of liquid mountains that make up the lifeblood of Mr Von Rupp. An existence that is rooted in swinging and missing and rinse and repeat. Rooted in being utterly On It when it comes to rolling, and sometimes, re-rolling the dice on a call for the search.

Nic's had a hyper-active start to the beginning of Europe's open season. Now-a-days, if you want to make a name for yourself in the upper echelons of big wave's name-sakes, then Nazare is not just a pit stop, it's something you've got to tangle with. Regardless of the way you think about it (mushburger, or no?) the attention that colossal heap of fervour draws is unavoidable.

But Mr NVR's more than his home-town behemoth. A life sketched out around the shifting, churning storms and hurricanes of the world, a life in tune with the spinning, global seasons – and that's just how you have to be, if you want to be in the right place at the correct time. Anyway, we chatted through a life steeped in travel, the rise and resurgence of tow surfing and much more with Nic, just the other day. Tuck in.

With a life of chasing swells, it's gotta be hard to stay in place for too long. Where in the world are you right now?
Yeah, right now, I'm in Hawaii, trying to keep that rhythm from Nazare going. I've got a bit of an injuy with my hamstring so just seeing how it goes right now.

Your new film, Rail Road, man, the screenings are going crazy, how’s the reception been?
That's rad to hear! Yeah we've had a few really cool premiers, I'm super amped. It's been two years in the making and a lot of time, love and effort has been put in to bring this baby to life. Stoked people love it.

So, what determines the ebb and flow of life for Nic Von Rupp?
My heart beats to the rhythm of the swells. I am constantly looking out for those storms...that's what I love to do.

Europe has been firing, it always does at this time of the year. Seems like it's not just us Europeans chasing it these days, the whole world comes here for one reason or another.

Which locale do you feel most comfortable surfing?
Europe in general. Obviously Portugal, that's where I grew up y'know? But I feel very welcome in Ireland too, love that Place.. The waves and the people. Amazing.

You’re on the road a lot, any tips for travelling?
Just, be respectful to those that live there all year long, engage with locals. Don't travel with a big crew. And don't expose secret spots to the world.

Where has been the last place you saw and it made you think – this is insane…
After Europe goes flat for the summer and fall starts kicking in with the first swells of the season,  I get that feeling every year. You know, that wow factor, Europe is amazing. Better than anywhere in the world.

OK, so, If you could drop a house anywhere in the world, next to a wave you’ve some form of appreciation for, where would that be?
Portugal, right her, where I want to be. No other place I would rather live. Kinda away from the surf towns, yet close enough to drive everyday, you know?

Talk us through equipment, do you have a go to sled for when it’s starting to dip into the XXL range?
Been working with Stretch on boards above 8ft, love his approach on surfboard design. I need something that is able to paddle well yet, I can knife under the lip as well as turn like a short board.

Nic relishes those serene moments.

Nic relishes those serene moments.

© 2019 - Al MacKinnon.

What’s your view on the resurgence of the tow movement? Do you welcome it, or is it a nuisance?
My perspective tow surfing is the following. I'm not against it, I think there is nothing better than towing into a bomb, specially if it's a big barrel....the amount of waves you catch too. There definitely is room for it in surfing, especially at Nazare.

For me, the ultimate challenge is paddling, there is nothing like that man vs nature feeling you get from attempting to paddle an XL wave. Sure, it's riskier, demands higher skill but the reward tastes much better.

Talk us through the past few days and weeks at Nazare… has it been much busier than last season? How is it being regulated?
Nazare has gone mad, people showing up from everywhere.. it's the place to be these days. Even for those who have bad mouthed it for years. Tow to paddle, it's hands down the most consistent big wave in the world. Paddling is definitely the biggest challenge, handling getting cleaned up by those bombs all the time is the hard part.
Cover shot by Timo.